8th Step--Penance and Sharing of
Your Catholic Faith with Others
Our Blessed Mother, during Her appearance at Fatima, requested that people do acts of penance and sacrifice as forms of reparation for sin that we or others commit against God, Our Lord Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. For example, one form of penance and sacrifice could be to eat fish instead of meat on every Friday of the year rather than just at Lent. Another example, would be to offer one's attendance at Mass or Holy Communion for the conversion of sinners, for the souls in Purgatory, for the conversion of some loved one who is away from the Church, for reparation of sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary and Sacred Heart of Jesus and for peace in the world. Our Blessed Mother loves these types of penances and sacrifices because they allow Her to apply them to where they are needed most. Whenever we make these acts of reparation and sacrifices, we not only help others but also ourselves in the long run. Heaven will always reward those who help others, perhaps not in this world but certainly in the next. We can also offer each day to Our Heavenly Father, Our Lord Jesus and Our Blessed Mother so that whatever challenges, problems, difficulties, joys, happiness we may experience throughout the day, we have already offered them all up to God, Our Lord Jesus and Our Blessed Mother. This is particularly good so that if we offer every day to each one of Them for the remission of our sins, for the sins of others, etc., we are, in essence, bringing ourselves and others closer to our Heavenly reward.
We should also be evangelizing our Catholic religion to the world. Many Catholic missionaries specifically ask to go to missions where others do not know about the Catholic faith. If going to foreign missions is outside of your realm, you can evangelize about the Catholic faith to whomever you come across in your life. Catholics should not be angry, sad, downtrodden and/or sarcastic people. As St. Francis of Assisi once said, "Preach always, and if necessary, use words." Catholics should show their faith daily and when necessary preach about their faith to those who need to hear it. Catholics, especially single Catholics, should not be content in living only for themselves. Since we live in the world, among many different types of people, we must be willing to spread the Gospel to the world around us. People do not necessarily have to be a priest or a sister to spread the Gospel, although one may also achieve it by being one. Evangelizers can be ordinary people from all walks of life in any socio-economic level, culture, background, gender, age, etc. St. Paul is an example of someone who evangelized the faith to the Gentiles.
We are, in a way, responsible for each other. We are responsible for changing the thinking of society at large. What we do, what we think and what we say has an impact on society, in some way, because we do influence others in some respects. So, it is important that we send the right messages to the youth and the next generation around us. We as single Catholics should be acutely aware that we should have a positive impact on our family, the youth around us, future generations, to society, to strangers and to our Catholic Church around the world.